Empire Renewed For Season 6 With No Current Plans for Jussie Smollett to Return

Fox issued a statement after the renewal news about the controversial actor's future with the show

By Lauren Piester Apr 30, 2019 9:49 PMTags
Empire, Jussie SmollettFox

Empire will be back for a sixth season on Fox, but it sounds like Jussie Smollett will likely not be back with it. 

Smollett was written out of the final two episodes of the fifth season after being accused of faking the attack he claimed happened to him back in January in Chicago. Charges were dropped by the city of Chicago, but both his future with the show and the show's future had been in question, and fellow cast members including Taraji P. Henson wrote an open letter to Fox asking for Smollett to be brought back. 

Now, with news that the show itself will return for season six, Fox has issued a statement to E! News confirming there are currently no plans for Smollett's return. 

"By mutual agreement, the studio has negotiated an extension to Jussie Smollett's option for season six, but at this time there are no plans for the character of Jamal to return to Empire," the network said. 

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Smollett's final season five episode featured Jamal's wedding to Kai (Toby Onwumere), and while we can assume he's now off on his honeymoon, his exit has not yet been addressed. 

This week's episode finds the family dealing with Andre's (Trai Byers) new/continuing health crisis while Cookie (Henson) gets picked up by AUSA Conway (Alicia Coppola), Lucious (Terrence Howard) is visited by his past, and Becky (Gabourey Sidibe), Hakeem (Bryshere "Yazz" Gray) and Andre put on a show to try to save Empire. Andre gets an assist from "the last person the Lyons expect," and Cookie may never forgive Lucious ahead of next week's "heart-stopping" season five finale. 

"Empire continues to break barriers with its emotionally powerful storytelling, and it remains a core part of the FOX legacy," said Michael Thorn, President of Entertainment for Fox Entertainment, in a statement on the renewal. "We want to thank everyone on the show—Taraji, Terrence and the entire cast, as well as Lee, Danny, Brett, Sanaa, Brian, Francie, Dennis and their teams —all of whom have done a tremendous job this season. We know there are so many more stories to tell, and we can't wait to see what they have in store for Season Six."

Empire airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on Fox.